Govt has dived into Covid-19 recovery funds to help build aquatic centre that – gosh! – may bring world champs to Hastings

Buzz from the Beehive 

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has been busy in the past 24 hours, joining the PM for the opening of a new aquatic centre, enthusing about data from the latest visitor statistics and announcing a new industry strategy.

The Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan was in the business of announcing strategies, too.  She welcomed the Ministry for Ethnic Communities’ release of its first strategy, setting out the actions it will take over the next few years to achieve better wellbeing outcomes for ethnic communities.

In the Education domain, Associate Minister Jan Tinetti was chuffed about the success of the programme for providing “free” period products in schools, while fellow Associate Minister Aupito William Sio announced the recipients of the Tulī Takes Flight scholarships. These were a key part of last year’s Dawn Raids apology. Continue reading “Govt has dived into Covid-19 recovery funds to help build aquatic centre that – gosh! – may bring world champs to Hastings”

Rwanda travel plans for UK deportees are stymied but Prince Charles is headed there – and Nanaia Mahuta is going, too

Buzz from the Beehive

Rwanda is back in the headlines, not only for the role it is playing in the British Government’s  highly controversial plans for ridding their country of asylum seekers (the first deportation flight was cancelled after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, which decided there was “a real risk of irreversible harm’’ to the asylum seekers involved).

The Central African country is also embroiled in a dispute with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, each country accusing the other of firing rockets across their shared border.

According to Al Jazeera,

“This seems to have been triggered by fighting between the M23 rebel group and state forces in the country’s east.

“Both Congo and the United Nations have accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 movement.” Continue reading “Rwanda travel plans for UK deportees are stymied but Prince Charles is headed there – and Nanaia Mahuta is going, too”

No abusive responses to this post, please, but shouldn’t the interests of Seniors be looked after by a more mature Minister?

Buzz from the Beehive

Efforts to buttress New Zealand’s relationships with our South Pacific neighbours are reflected in two announcements from the Beehive.  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she had a warm and productive meeting with Samoa’ Prime Minister, Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa, in Wellington yesterday and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said tomorrow she will welcome Penny Wong on her first official visit to New Zealand as Australia’s Foreign Minister.

The Prime Ministers issued a Joint Statement acknowledging “strong cooperation” on COVID-19 and vaccines, a commitment to work together to navigate post-pandemic economic challenges, the importance of regional unity, and the pre-eminent role of existing regional architecture, such as the Pacific Island Forum.

They also agreed to strengthen cooperation on climate change.

Mahuta echoed this, saying she looked forward to talking to the new Foreign Minister on Australia’s climate change agenda and further ways of assisting Pacific Island nations on mitigation and adaptation measures. Continue reading “No abusive responses to this post, please, but shouldn’t the interests of Seniors be looked after by a more mature Minister?”

Check out the order of matters discussed by Ardern and Albanese: deportations from Australia were “also” on the agenda

Buzz from the Beehive

New Zealand’s relationships with other countries have been a feature of an outpouring of press statements and speeches from the Beehive over the past 24 hours.

The PM checked in from overseas, the Minister of Trade is headed overseas,  the Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs addressed a bunch of diplomats from overseas, the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety brayed about a ruling from overseas, and (a second statement from him) the Minister of Trade brandished a report from overseas.

The most important of those was the press release after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese held their first bilateral meeting in Sydney.

The most contentious issue on the agenda – and the matter of most interest to news media in this country – was mentioned almost as an afterthought: Continue reading “Check out the order of matters discussed by Ardern and Albanese: deportations from Australia were “also” on the agenda”

Govt action against climate change includes pouring millions into troughs and inviting private sector to line up for a slurp

Buzz from the Beehive

Foreign affairs, agriculture, health and transport are among the burning issues which have been keeping our ministers, their policy advisers and their press secretaries busy in recent days.  Inviting oinkers to new freshly filled troughs was on the agenda, too.

Ministers had issued 13 new press statements when Point of Order checked this morning.  At time of writing the number of new statements had increased to 16, on subjects ranging from the agriculture sector’s agenda for dealing with climate change to the race-fixated restructuring of the health system.

On the foreign affairs front, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta was announcing additional sanctions on Russian state-owned enterprises and defence entities in response to the ongoing brutality in Ukraine, the PM was announcing a visit here this month by Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa 60 years after the Treaty of Friendship between the two countries was signed, and the PM was further announcing she will travel to Sydney this week for “an in-person meeting” with new Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. Continue reading “Govt action against climate change includes pouring millions into troughs and inviting private sector to line up for a slurp”

Buzz from the Beehive: Budget announcements are still flowing but criminals will pay for Poto’s new law and order initiative

Ministers continue to beat the drum for the goodies dispensed in the Budget, a week after Finance Minister Grant Robertson delivered his Budget speech and the Government published a raft of documents and press statements to tell the nation who got how much. 

Some of the ministerial post-Budget announcements relate to services that are being provided for all who need them.  Or rather, all who need them until the money runs out, presumably.

In addition to the $15.5 million spent each year to help people battling with eating disorders, for example, $3.9 million in extra funding over four years has been secured as part of Budget 2022.

“This will help increase the capacity of eating disorder services and reinforces our continued focus and commitment to improve mental health and addictions support in Aotearoa,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Budget announcements are still flowing but criminals will pay for Poto’s new law and order initiative”

Buzz from the Beehive – or (unwittingly) is the way being paved for booze in schools to boost kids’ health and wellbeing?

The news from the Beehive has been mixed on the trade front – greater trade liberalisation with China was welcomed by Trade Minister Damien O’Connor but was countered by his announcement (alongside Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta) of significant new sanctions against Russia.

It’s a good thing our trade with China is much greater than our trade with Russia.

But the government’s general inclination to regulate rather than liberalise is reflected in its signalling a Nanny State crackdown on what our kids can drink.

It has opened a public consultation on a proposal for primary schools to offer only “healthy” drinks.  We trust they know what they are doing with this one.

We say this because alcoholic drinks are good for our health, according to some websites checked out by Point of Order. Consumption must be moderate, true, but that should apply to whatever our kids eat and drink.

Hence we look forward to our toddlers toasting each other with a cheery “good health” before they sink their daily toddies.  Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – or (unwittingly) is the way being paved for booze in schools to boost kids’ health and wellbeing?”

A new school for Levin (for Horowhenua Māori pupils) in three years and a new school for Melville (maybe) in several years

Two new schools, an update on the fast-track consenting process and more advice on getting our Covid shots were the subjects of Beehive announcements since Point of Order last reported on what Ardern and her ministers are up to.

One of the new schools was described as a new wharekura for years 1 to 13 which

“… will extend Horowhenua Māori medium education into Levin.”

Horowhenua Māori medium education?  This suggests the education provided by wharekura differs from region to region.

It also suggests this extension of Horowhenua Maori medium education is being extended from elsewhere in Horowhenua, although Levin is the biggest town in the region.

Whether the press statement was intended for an English-speaking audience or a te reo-speaking one is unclear.  It incorporates elements of both languages, which means it will be understood by bilingual readers but others will have to reach for a translation service.  Continue reading “A new school for Levin (for Horowhenua Māori pupils) in three years and a new school for Melville (maybe) in several years”

No protest, pipers or haggis – and the PM’s nuptials are off, too – but the govt is preparing to get kids back to school

The social upheaval caused by the pandemic and the government’s moving the nation to Covid Code Red this week is immeasurable.

Point of Order notes with dismay the grim toll, which includes the cancellations of the annual Waihopai Spy Base Protest in Marlborough (for the first time in three decades), the Burns Night Dinner at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum and the Octagonal Day and Otago Centre pipe band contest in Dunedin

Oh – and The Team of Five Million will be denied the news and pictures we expected to adorn newspapers, magazines and our TV screens after Jacinda Ardern’s wedding to Clarke Gayford, an event which was due to take place in the next week or so at Gisborne.

The world was waiting for the news and pictures, too. Continue reading “No protest, pipers or haggis – and the PM’s nuptials are off, too – but the govt is preparing to get kids back to school”

The PM pops up in a summit for “democracy” – but we wonder if she grasps her dilemma when she also favours “partnership”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – we were heartened to learn – has participated in the Summit for Democracy, hosted by United States President Joe Biden.

This was a “virtual” summit and (it so happens) “virtual” means “almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition”.

This fairly well describes this country’s democracy under a government which is tempted to make “democracy” subordinate to Treaty” considerations.  

In  a guest post earlier this year, political commentator Barrie Saunders cautioned: 

At present New Zealand has a quality democracy.   We have fairly-drawn electorates, an easy voting system, and a reasonable level of political literacy.  Money struggles to buy Government policy, which is all as it should be. 

However, we have no reason to be smug, because this democracy is under threat. Governments since 1987 and the Courts have been entrenching a modern view that the Treaty of Waitangi means there is an ongoing “partnership between the Government and Iwi”.

The post was headlined:  Democracy or partnership – which do we want, because we can’t have both? Continue reading “The PM pops up in a summit for “democracy” – but we wonder if she grasps her dilemma when she also favours “partnership””